Our ESG Report 2023
Top quality is sustainable
Durable products directly from the manufacturer
For over 75 years, we have used our engineering and experience to develop durable water treatment systems. Herco has a chemical-free DNA. Reverse osmosis is our core product as a chemical-free process for water treatment based on membrane technology. We are deeply rooted in Baden-Württemberg. We have always been thoughtful in our use of resources, if only for our own sake. However, resources have become increasingly scarce in recent years. Water is one of the key factors in our world. This fact makes the topic of water management one of the most important areas of sustainability in the coming decades.
Sustainable water treatment will play an increasingly prominent role on this planet in the future and water quality will have a decisive influence on the living conditions of all the earth's inhabitants. New approaches are needed to ensure that our blue planet remains liveable. After all, 2023 will also be characterised by global political crises, drought, scarcity of resources and noticeable climate change. However, we can only solve this global challenge together. Therefore, the values and principles of Herco Wassertechnik GmbH are closely linked to the issue of sustainability: the economical use of resources, as well as the energy efficiency and longevity of our water treatment plants are our top priorities.
First EMAS-certified plant manufacturer in the water treatment sector
- We develop and produce plant technology for water treatment with the lowest possible water and electricity consumption, e.g. through the standard use of energy-efficient high-pressure pumps with FU technology (frequency converter).
- In order to reduce our environmental impact even further, we have established an ambitious environmental management system according to EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) or ISO 14001 in 2022.
- Thereby, we aim to continuously improve our environmental performance and have set binding environmental targets along the entire process chain at our site. An external environmental auditor regularly validates the associated environmental statement.
- In detail, we systematically record all relevant environmental key figures of our company for the continuous improvement of energy efficiency, the reduction of energy and water consumption and the reduction of waste.
- Sustainability starts with the employees. We invest in environmental education on the sustainable use of environmental resources in the manufacturing process and use their knowledge in the development of our products. This approach promotes a stronger involvement of employees in the environmental management system and increases their motivation to actively participate in operational environmental protection.
We are guided by global development goals
with the focus on Product, People and Planet
We are contributing to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The UN's Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are our guiding principles for corporate, social and environmental sustainability, so that we can continue to thrive for the next 75 years and fulfil our responsibility to future generations. This Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) Report provides an overview of the issues that are at the forefront of our business.
This ESG report contains all relevant information on the impact of our business activities on the environment and the society embedded in it. In order to further integrate the topic of sustainability as a guiding principle at Herco, the focus is on three fields of action: "Product", "People" and "Planet". The report is structured according to these three areas.
Why we submit an ESG report
Herco was founded in Germany in 1947 and has been a manufacturer there ever since. It means that we have been planning, designing and producing at our site in Freiberg am Neckar for over 75 years. We are rooted in the region and at the same time have the global challenges of the 21st century in mind. Our blue planet is 71% covered with water. However, only a fraction of this (around 2.5%) is usable as fresh water. The main motivation enough as a human being to use water sparingly as a resource. As a logical consequence, this is exactly what we want to do as a company and therefore have commited ourselves to improve our environmental performance continuously.
For this reason, Herco Wassertechnik GmbH applies an environmental management system in accordance with Regulation (EC) No. 1221/2009 and EN ISO 14001:2015, regularly publishes an environmental statement that is approved by an accredited, independent environmental verifier and is registered in the EMAS register. Transparency is important to us. Therefore, beyond the EMAS environmental statement, our ESG report illustrates how Herco Wassertechnik GmbH has already embedded the topic of sustainability in the company in the past, what we are doing today and what we still want to achieve in the future.
Herco's success is based on a long-term corporate culture. We rely on a long-term cooperation with our employees, in which respectful cooperation and humanity are in the foreground. With around 90 employees, our company is of a manageable size and therefore facilitates a family team culture that does account for the individual needs and cultural diversity of our workforce.
SDG development goals
Our pure and ultrapure water plant technology is resource-saving and extremely durable.
Our passion for water technology drives us
As passionate engineers, we love to design well designed technology for the future. In the process, we keep an eye on important developments such as energy and resource efficiency and the production of green hydrogen. For us, helping to shape the future means developing products that are as sustainable as possible, that save water and electricity, and that have a long lifespan at the same time. If a component fails after many years of operation, Herco offers a comprehensive range of spare parts. With original spare parts from leading manufacturers, the system will last significantly longer than the average service life of at least 20 years. Since everything is located at one site in Freiberg am Neckar, our transport routes are reduced to a minimum. In production, we work with certified quality management paired with the latest manufacturing techniques.
We aim to produce in line with the circular economy and favour upcycled filter material. Specifically, we utilise recycling options when possible, such as AFM filters and filters made from recycled polypropylene. This allows us to reduce material consumption and save valuable resources. Our water treatment systems use membrane technology and operate largely without chemicals. In addition, our products save a lot of water and electricity in use. For example, the concentrate-staged reverse osmosis series (UO KR) is particularly suitable for applications with high water consumption, such as in the food and beverage industry and in industrial applications. In addition, the UO units with frequency converter (FC) realise electricity savings of up to 50%.
UO-D 1000 AS/FU
Our UO-KR series saves water and electricity
Product range with long service life and high quality standards
Water treatment by reverse osmosis and membrane technology in low-chemical processes
High energy efficiency through the use of pumps with FU technology
UO KR systems achieve a high permeate yield of up to 90%.
Use of upcycled filter material
Optional retrofitting of existing plants to increase the yield
Comprehensive spare parts advice for maintenance instead of new plant construction
Digital commissioning possible to avoid emissions from business trips
Our goals for the next period
Evidence of sustainable supply chains (production and procurement)
Expanding the portfolio for the production of green hydrogen
Further increase yield and energy efficiency of the plants
Water treatment without salinisation of the waste water also for small flows
Minimising water consumption in the test field
SDG development goals
Partnership as the basis for successful action
Without our employees, business partners and suppliers, Herco Wassertechnik GmbH would not exist. A good partnership is the basis of our actions and success. We rely on long-term cooperation with both our employees and our partners. We are deeply rooted in Baden-Württemberg and open to different nationalities, family-friendly working models, unusual CVs and the generational change that we are all currently experiencing.
What matters for us are expertise, human interaction and the consistent avoidance of disadvantage and discrimination. Of course, we pay our employees in line with the industry standards, they receive local social benefits and have the maximum possible freedom in their decisions. We offer the opportunity for further education and are a training company.
The works commitee represents the interests of the employees and ensures gender equality and co-determination. Our corporate environmental protection is successful because the employees are actively involved in the environmental management system and are trained accordingly. Feedback and potential for improvement are directly integrated into operational processes, provided they can be implemented. For a good work-life balance, we offer our employees the possibility of a job bike, which can of course also be used privately.
Occupational health management provides the necessary exercise both at work and in everyday life. The "Gesundheitsmotor (health motor)" offers regular training programmes and comprehensive health advice. A team of employees regularly helps to determine the content of the health management and constructively incorporates feedback from colleagues into the programme. Adapted work shoes and individually orthopaedic insoles support the health of employees in the production.
Bicycle as desired whether for the job or privately
Long-term cooperation with employees and partners with secure future prospects (with more than 95% permanent employment contracts)
Diversity, equality and inclusion i.e. disadvantages are consistently avoided; at the same time, expertise and human interaction count
Environmental management has a high priority and is the responsibility of the management; active participation of employees to identify potential for improvement.
Above-average employer contribution to company pension scheme (20% instead of 15%)
Further training opportunities for employees and partners in the Herco Academy and in webinars, as well as the possibility of external further training according to need and requirement.
Implementation of health management in the form of the "Gesundheitsmotor" with regular training offers and health advice
Promotion of bicycle mobility, also in the private sector, through job bikes and the offer of employee showers, regional apple boxes and subsidised canteen food from a sustainable caterer.
Annual donation of (1500 euros/year) to children who are ill or in life crises and (1500 euros/year) to a children's and youth hospice.
Our goals for the next period
Increasing the attractiveness as an employer through various measures from setting up a bike station including tools and pump at the site to continuously strengthening togetherness through an inclusive team culture
Still a training company both in the commercial area and in production
Recruitment of interns, working students, bachelor's and master's degree students as an integral part of our team.
Expansion of the Herco Academy with advanced training and further education offers
SDG Development Goals
Preserving the livelihood for future generations
Sustainable action is our principle in order to preserve the basis of life for future generations. For this reason, we want to further reduce the direct and indirect environmental impact of our operations and our products. Of course, the protection of our precious resource water is of particular importance to Herco. As a company rooted in Baden-Württemberg, we have always paid attention to our consumption of resources and to sustainable quality. That's why energy efficiency and the economical use of water are a top priority in our operating processes as well as in product design. In this way, we reduce CO₂ emissions and make a contribution to active climate protection.
We are working to offer sustainable water treatment for the production of green hydrogen. By converting green electricity into hydrogen, energy from the sun and wind can be stored, transported and used for vehicle drives. The electrolysis process associated with the production of green hydrogen relies on ultra-pure water, which our UO plants supply in a particularly energy-efficient way.
We are the first company in the field of water plant construction with an EMAS certificate. At the heart of the ambitious environmental management system is a continuous reduction of our "footprint" on the planet. To achieve this, we have already implemented measures at the production site such as switching the vehicle fleet to hybrid/electric drive, converting to LEDs in all commercial areas and aerators at the hand wash basins. In addition, the installation and commissioning of plants naturally involves business trips for our employees. This is associated with emissions and is also bad for the work-life balance. The solution to this is digital commissioning.
Herco has been producing at its site in Freiberg am Neckar for decades. Over the years, we have built up a network of local suppliers, which means we now have short transport routes. This promotes trust and strengthens the local economy. It also makes us less dependent on disruption-prone global supply chains. We are working on the implementation of a photovoltaic system with a T-heat pump and are also thinking outside the box in the area of "Planet": In 2022, we spontaneously supported an aid project in Peru with the delivery of a drinking water treatment plant. Now the villagers in this region, which is plagued by poverty and water shortages, have access to 2,000 litres of clean drinking water per hour.
Donation project Peru
We regularly support sustainable projects
Continuous improvement of the CO₂ balance at the site with the goal of climate neutrality of production by 2025
Continuous improvement of the CO₂ balance of the products, e.g. in the area of energy efficiency of the plants.
Product design with a high water yield, e.g. in plants in the food industry with up to 90%.
High proportion of local suppliers with short transport routes
Support for an aid project for drinking water treatment in Peru
Application of a water recycling circuit in the test field
Since 6 December 2023, we have been supporting International Aid Services Germany e.V. with €7,500 per year for the development of a water hub in South Sudan.
Since 6 December 2023, we have been donating €1,500 annually to regional nature conservation projects run by BUND.
Our goals for the next period
We aim to reduce our operational CO₂ emissions even further
Reduce resource consumption in operations e.g. savings targets for energy, water, packaging material e.g. increase recycling rate
Closing the water circuit in the test field
We welcome any questions or suggestions.